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Facebook's new help center takes cue from apps

NEW YORK -- Facebook's redesigned help center aims to make it easier for users to navigate and find what they need help with on the site or its mobile applications.

Though it's only fully accessible on Facebook's website, the new help center is designed to look and feel more like a mobile app, said Terry Guo, product manager at the Menlo Park, California-based social media company.

Finding answers has also been streamlined so that what might have taken five clicks of a mouse on the old help center will now take three or fewer, Guo said.

Instead of loading individual Web pages for new topics, for example, topics and answers to questions slide in and out when you click on them, which is faster.

The new help center will appear on users' pages on Tuesday. Users will see large icons representing six main topics, such as privacy basics, reporting problems or learning more about Timeline, the new profile page on Facebook. For people looking for help with a specific problem, the help center's search feature scans more than 5,000 “frequently asked questions” to suggest answers on everything from reporting spam and changing a relationship status to managing public pages.

Facebook said it's also working on tailoring the help center to individuals. So if a user visits it without logging in to Facebook, he or she might see information about creating a new password. Eventually it will add more scenarios.

In addition to the revamped help center, Facebook is rolling out its “support dashboard” to all users worldwide. Located in “account settings,” this feature, launched in April, lets users check the status of pages, photos or posts they may have reported to the company as abusive, containing spam or for another reason.

Facebook first launched the help center in 2007, when it had just a fraction of its more than 955 million current users. Guo said that while many companies outsource their online help centers to outside providers, Facebook treats it as a product, with constant updates designed to make it better. So is it done?

“I don't think we are there yet,” he said.

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This image provided by Facebook shows the website's redesigned help center, developed to make it easier to navigate and find what you need help with on the site or its mobile applications. (AP)

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